Library Blog Archive

World Book Day 2018 Competition

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Coming soon in the Library…

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

World Book Day 2018 takes place on Thursday 1st March and we have a very special treat in store for our pupils: award-winning children’s author, Katherine Rundell, will be visiting us to talk to Years 5, 6 and 7 about her books and the inspiration behind them, as well as giving our pupils valuable insight into what life as an author is like. In January this year, Katherine was awarded the Costa Children’s Book Prize for her most recent novel, The Explorer. In addition to her work as a novelist, Katherine is also a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She is sure to inspire our budding writers here at King’s Hall!

Katherine will be available to sign pupils’ books on the day and there will, as usual, be a book stall for those pupils to might wish to buy one and have it signed.

Click here to watch a video of Katherine talking about her Costa award-winning book, The Explorer.

We can’t wait to meet her!

This week in the Library....

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Our team of book reviewers have their work published in the TES – Congratulations!

It is always very exciting to get one’s hands on a book that has not yet been published. A group of keen readers from Years 6 and 7 were lucky enough to have this opportunity over the Christmas holidays when they received advance copies of a story called The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson. Several of them had already read Lisa’s wonderful and thought-provoking first novel, The Goldfish Boy, and so were very keen to take part. Their challenge was to produce a book review that would be published in the leading educational publication, the TES. As ever, our King’s Hall bookworms did not disappoint!

The article appears online here on the TES website.

The class book review: The Light Jar

Skilfully shining a light on some tricky issues

The Light Jar

Lisa Thompson


304 pages, £6.99, paperback ISBN 9781407171289

I was over the moon to get my hands on an advance copy of The Light Jar, having been mesmerised, gripped and moved by Lisa Thompson’s wonderful debut novel, The Goldfish Boy, in January last year. The Goldfish Boy is now passed eagerly from child to child in my library, with cries of: “You have to read this!”

Thankfully, The Light Jar did not disappoint. At the heart of this tale lies the power of light over darkness. Even before Nate finds himself all alone in an abandoned and ramshackle cottage in the depths of winter, we get the sense that he and his mother are already in a dark place in their lives. When Nate’s mother goes out and doesn’t return, however, things look increasingly bleak for Nate.

Yet all is not lost. Nate manages to find friends both new and old, and finds himself swept along in a mystery that keeps the reader hooked until the very end.

I can’t wait to put this fabulous story into the eager hands of my pupils. As well as appealing to mystery fans, it will be a big hit with those who love a powerful, emotional and character-driven story. As in The Goldfish Boy, which told the story of a boy with OCD, the author does a skilful job of addressing some very tricky issues with great sensitivity.

The theme of the light jar itself resonates throughout the story. This was such a wonderful image that we decided to create some light jars of our own to decorate the library. The warm glow from our jars was a lovely reminder of the positive message at the heart of this story – one I know will resonate with many of our readers.

Emily Marcuccilli is librarian at King’s Hall School in Taunton, Somerset. She tweets as @KH_Library

Pupil reviews

An adventure with lots of surprises

‘Mysterious and gripping’

I really enjoyed The Light Jar. It was very mysterious and gripping – I couldn’t stop reading it.

The happy bits really made me smile and you get a good sense of how all the characters are feeling. I liked how it reveals who everyone really is and where they were at the end – and I was surprised when I found out. The author really knows how to conjure up a suspenseful moment, having me on the edge of my seat.

Maisie, Year 7

‘I really thought I was the main character’

I thought this book was really gripping. I managed to read it in about a day. I loved it! At the beginning, it was really scary and I thought I might not like the book. I think that if you read it and do not like the beginning much, you would need to carry on and read some more.

If you like mystery, adventure or a tiny element of fantasy, this is the book for you. The ending was a surprise. To be honest, there were a lot of surprises! When I was reading it, I really thought that I was the main character.

Freya, Year 7

‘A very touching story

This story brought tears of sadness to my eyes. Nate is on his own in a small cottage. His mum has disappeared and his dad is somewhere far away. Will Nate help mystery girl Kitty? Will he find the answer to the mystery – and will he find his mum?

The story was very touching. It made me think about Nate and children like him, who are put in a scary situation where they feel no one can help them. The author makes you feel like you are Nate in the way she describes the cottage and its surroundings. It is winter, the snow is falling heavily and the cottage is in the middle of nowhere. Nate needs to keep himself alive. It made me wonder what I would do with no parents to help me, to tell me what to do or to give me food and shelter.

I would recommend this book for readers aged 8 to 12 who like to have an adventure where not everything goes right. This book makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up with anxiety!

If you like this book, I would also recommend:

• Lisa Thompson’s first novel, The Goldfish Boy

• The Longest Whale Song by Jacqueline Wilson

• Wonder by R J Palacio

• The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

• Sweet Honey by Cathy Cassidy

Georgia, Year 6

Pupils from King’s Hall have already reviewed a number of other brand new books for the TES:

Singing in the Rain by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown and illustrated by Tim Hopgood

Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space by A F Harrold, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton

The Boy Who Went Magic by A P Winter

Soon it will be the chance of our Year 8 pupils who have been asked to review a soon-to-be published story by well-known historian and author, Lucy Worsley. Watch this space!

Penguin Adventure for Year 3 and 4

Monday, January 22, 2018

There was great excitement in the library last week as enthusiastic readers from Years 3 and 4 gathered to discuss Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure, the first book in a new series by one of King's Hall's favourite authors, Alex T. Smith.

Pupils, who had read the novel over the Christmas holiday, were eager to share their thoughts about this exciting new adventure.

Mr Penguin himself received a huge thumbs up from our bookworms. As a would-be professional adventurer, complete with a very dashing hat and an office in his igloo, poor Mr Penguin is left to twirl around idly on his office chair, with no sign of adventure on the horizon.

When he has all but given up hope, he receives a desperate call for help from the city's museum, whose treasures have mysteriously vanished. With a fish finger sandwich in his satchel and accompanies by his trusty spider sidekick, Colin, Mr Penguin is ready for action!

The ensuing adventure had the children on the edge of their seats and certainly made them laugh along the way. They also enjoyed the fantastic illustrations and had fun pointing out all the interesting details. The whole group fell in love with Colin the Spider, and Ava especially enjoyed Colin's talent for kung fu.

All in all, a resounding five stars from our book clubbers!

Years 7 and 8 enjoy breakfast book club

Thursday, January 11, 2018

On Tuesday morning, a record number of Year 7 and Year 8 bookworms gathered in the library, ready to share their opinions on The Explorer by Katherine Rundell.

The Explorer is a wonderfully atmospheric adventure story set in the Amazon rainforest. Here are just some of the words that our Book Breakfast team used to describe the story: mysterious, adventurous, descriptive, thrilling, triumphant and surprising.

The pupils, who had read the story over the Christmas holiday, chatted enthusiastically about their favourite parts of the novel. Alvin loved the descriptions of how the children within the book managed to survive after crash-landing in the forest, and how they then explored their exotic surroundings.

Alice and Lily particularly enjoyed the appearance of Baca, the baby sloth. Bel also loved the combination of characters, and Nigel liked the way in which they managed to get along, despite their differences.

We had an interesting discussion about the things that we would need in order to survive, if, like Fred, Con, Lila and Max, we too found ourselves marooned in the Amazon.

We also discussed how hungry we would have to be before we would eat a tarantula, like the characters in the story. Luckily, we need not have worried, for we had a delicious spread of Danish pastries to stave our hunger.

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